CALIFORNIA MANDATORY SOLAR UPDATE: First Community Solar Program Approved by California Energy Commission

On February 20, 2020, the California Energy Commission approved its first community solar system under the 2019 Energy Code, which allows developers of new homes within Sacramento Municipal Utility District (“SMUD”) to meet mandatory solar energy system requirements through solar agreements with SMUD instead of installation of solar panels on new homes. Continue Reading

Navigable Waters Protection Rule: How are the “Waters of the United States” Being Defined?

On January 23, 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (the “2020 Rule”), which includes a revised definition of the “waters of the United States” subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act.[1] The revisions in the 2020 Rule come after a line of U.S. Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”) cases ending with Rapanos v. United States,[2] as well as an Obama-era administrative rule addressing the waterbodies under federal jurisdiction (the “2015 Rule”).[3] Rapanos was the last time the Supreme Court interpreted the term “waters of the United States,” with the intent of curtailing the substantial litigation concerning the meaning of the phrase and defining what “waters of the United States” should be included under federal jurisdiction. The 2015 Rule intended to clarify the definition further and codify the Supreme Court decisions. When effective, the newly issued Navigable Waters Protection Rule will limit the 2015 Rule, attempting again to define what are and what are not “waters of the United States.” Continue Reading

Housing in California in 2020: A Look Ahead and a Lesson in Try, Try Again

Indisputably, 2019 was an important year for housing in California. As we noted in our prior blog post, Governor Newsom signed legislation creating statewide rent control, preventing discrimination against people paying rent with vouchers, and preventing cities from downzoning in order to inhibit new construction projects. And, according to legislators involved in these efforts, the State wants to keep up this momentum in 2020. Continue Reading

Proposition 65: California Clarifies Responsibilities To Warn Amongst Manufacturers, Distributors and Retailers

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently adopted amendments to California Code of Regulations, section 25600.2 – the section titled “Responsibility to Provide Consumer Product Exposure Warnings.”  These amendments provide more specific guidance for manufacturers, retailers and other businesses in the chain of commerce on how to satisfy their responsibilities to provide consumer product exposure warnings for chemicals listed under Proposition 65. The amendments become effective on April 1, 2020. Continue Reading

California Housing Legislation – 2019 Update

In 2019, the California legislature passed, and Governor Newsom approved, new legislation impacting the development industry. Effective January 1, 2020, the laws summarized in the link below will impact the development process in many ways – from streamlining local permitting procedures for eligible projects to tenant protections and new incentives for financing affordable housing. The new laws also obligate local government to undertake updates in their housing plans and plan for growth, among other requirements. In 2020, we anticipate the state legislature to continue to tackle housing access and affordability and we are closely tracking progress on key bills, including Senate Bill 50 (Weiner). Continue Reading

Appellate Court Holds Charter Cities Are Bound By State Housing Objectives, Signaling Erosion of Local Discretion

In Anderson v. City of San Jose (2019), the Sixth District Court of Appeal held that California’s charter cities must comply with the Surplus Land Act (Govt. Code § 54220 et seq.).[1] This decision, essentially, ruled that the statewide housing crisis is of paramount importance, and that all cities – even charter cities – must yield to the state law processes governing surplus land disposition and give affordable housing preference when building on surplus city land. Continue Reading

Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482) – COMPLIANCE GUIDE

In the fourth quarter of 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a package of housing-related legislation that included 18 individual bills. Within this package, there were a significant number of important changes aimed at addressing the statewide housing crisis through a variety of measures, including, among others mechanisms, upzoning, approval streamlining and tenant protections.[1] Continue Reading

Is the Popularity of Short-Term Rentals Sustainable, or Will Regulations Weaken Their Current Stronghold?

This article originally appeared in the California Lawyers Association’s “Real Property Law Journal.”

Like many other sectors in the “sharing economy,”[i] short-term rentals of residential property[ii] (“STRs”) have become a ubiquitous part of the national economy. Often labeled as one of the biggest disrupters in the travel industry, STRs are particularly impactful on the United States tourist sector, with one estimate putting the size of the domestic vacation rental market at $100 billion.[iii] The STR industry is young and, while not yet fully crystallized, flush with growing demand.[iv] The number of consumers utilizing STR options has burgeoned exponentially since 2011,[v] with a reported seven in ten millennial business travelers preferring to stay in local host rentals over more traditional lodging options.[vi] Continue Reading

EU is Taking Action: The Fight for Clean Air

Public awareness regarding air pollution in the European Union is at an all-time high and citizens expect authorities to act. In this vein, the European Commission[1] has recently taken a number of direct and indirect actions, including engagement of the Court of Justice of the EU, enforcement measures against car manufacturers and a Europe-specific “Green Deal,” to stem the tide of rising air pollution and become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Continue Reading

Start Spreadin’ the News: California Court Says No to New York, New York; Rejects Forum Selection Clause

Sinatra may have found success in the city that never sleeps, but a California court has just made it more difficult for any party doing business with a California resident to do the same. At least, when it comes to resolving disputes without a jury in a New York courtroom, or in the courtroom of any other jurisdiction that enforces pre-dispute jury trial waivers. This case will be of major interest to commercial lenders, and other businesses, who prefer to use New York as their jurisdiction of choice for governing law and adjudicating disputes. Continue Reading

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